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The new limited-edition (available until September 18) Doritos Jacked 3D Bacon Cheddar Ranch promise “a 3D video in every bite.” A bold claim, parent company Frito-Lay explains that if you go to Jacked3D.com on your phone and scan a chip, a video will play. You are instructed to take a photo of a chip, then, wearing a pair of 3D glasses, you can “enjoy 3D videos from some of the boldest names in online content…”
But we are old school. What we care about when it comes to chips is how they taste, not how many social media shares they get. So we decided to challenge the new Doritos Jacked 3D Bacon Cheddar Ranch to an old-fashioned smackdown! A throwdown with two other cheesy chips, Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos (introduced in 2007) and Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Potato Skins (introduced in 2013). All are available in stores.
First up: Our challenger. The “3D” means that this version of Doritos is thicker than the traditional chip. (The first 3D Doritos flavor was Jacked Jalapeno Pepper Jack, and yes that is redundant.) Thicker is not necessarily a plus in a chip—these reminded us of those factory mistakes you sometimes find at the bottom of your bag of traditional Doritos, where a few chips are fused together. Perhaps the waffle fry-like holes in the chips are meant to give some breathing room to what otherwise would be one big hunk of chip.
Moving past the texture issue, we quickly discerned the flavor of corn, then salt, then ranch, then a tang that might be classified as cheddar. No bacon whatsoever. We popped another chip. And another. Nope. No bacon. And we like to think that our bacon buds are finally attuned. These chips did not taste all that different from regular Doritos or Cool Ranch Doritos.
Next we tried the Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside like a regular Cheeto, with a nice hint of jalapeno, more reheated than hot. As Chester Cheetah says, these may indeed be the cheesiest. There is real cheddar flavor happening here. These snack squiggles are a very reasonable cheddar-pepper alternative to Cheetos Flamin’ Hots, unless you absolutely require that Red Dye #40 buzz.
Finally, we turned our attention to Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Potato Skins. In the last few years, mad food scientists have gotten awfully clever with their chemistry sets, breaking down each individual flavor so that snacks have achieved an Everlasting Gobstopper quality that might even have you believing you are eating actual food. But we were truly impressed by this quality in Ruffles Bacon & Cheddar chips. We could taste the smoky bacon, the cheddar, the potato, some sour cream tang, and the onion, but this chip was more than the sum of its parts. If we closed our eyes and took a swig of our libation, we really could believe, if just for that one brief shining moment, that we were eating a delicious, salty, perhaps slightly overcooked yet loaded potato skin.
In the end, Ruffles Ultimate Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Potato Skins was the clear winner of this throwdown, and sadly, the new Doritos offering dragged itself over the finish line last, slowed down rather than buoyed by its “3D” promise. Because what snack-lovers look for in a chip is “flavor,” not “concept.” Gimmicks – including “an awesome pair of Jacked 3D glasses” — will only take you so far, even with the teenage male or the inebriated.